2014 Masters: Five to watch


Phil Mickelson hopes some guidance this week from his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, will bring a fourth Masters victory. (Harry How/Getty Images)
April 9, 2014

The Masters

Today-Sunday in Augusta, Ga. Today’s TV coverage: ESPN, 3 p.m.

Five to watch

Phil Mickelson

Age: 43

Major championships: 5

World ranking: 5

Why him? The three-time Masters champ hasn’t won since his unexpected British Open victory last summer. But just being at Augusta frees his mind and his game, and he’s well aware that another green jacket ties him with Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer, behind only Jack Nicklaus’s six.

Adam Scott

Age: 33

Major championships: 1

World ranking: 2

Why him? A victory would push the Australian past Woods into the top spot in the world rankings. More importantly, he would join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Woods as the only players to take back-to-back Masters. He has seven top-10 finishes in the past 12 majors.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 24

Major championships: 2

World ranking: 9

Why him? McIlroy’s struggle-filled 2013 ended with both a win over Scott at the Australian Open and an engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Given his talent and the 54-hole lead he held in 2011, it’s surprising his best finish here is tied for 15th. This year: “There’s no excuses,” he said.

Jason Day

Age: 26

Major championships: 0

World ranking: 4

Why him? Day has completed just 10 majors, but he might be the best player without a major title. In three Masters, he has tied for second, withdrawn because of an injury and finished third. Last year, he stood on the 16th tee with the lead, but bogeyed the next two holes. Could it be different this year?

Jordan Spieth

Age: 20

Major championships: 0

World ranking: 13

Why him? Count the Texan as the leader of a talented 24-member rookie class at the Masters, which should put him at a distinct disadvantage. But he won his first PGA Tour event last year at 19, and Fred Couples made him a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup. A major will be his next big step.

— Barry Svrluga

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